The French carmaker Renault has been the subject of an investigation linked to the controversial 2015 Dieselgate scandal. Releasing their official statement, the manufacturer admitted that their diesel vehicles produced higher volumes of emissions when driven on open roads than when in the testing laboratory. However, Renault stressed that the vehicles did not use defeat devices that manipulated emissions.
Renault’s engineering head Gilles Le Borgne said all their vehicles strictly follow European and French emissions regulations. He even compared their vehicles with Volkswagen’s, saying that the difference between the two brands was that VW used defeat devices and Renault never fitted their vehicles with one.
Despite Le Borgne’s guarantees, French authorities have gone on to charge Renault with a €20 million (£19.27 million) bail payment for manipulating emissions and manufacturing vehicles that could harm humans and animals. The carmaker is also required to provide a bank guarantee of at least €60 million (approximately £51.6 million) to cover compensation, fines, and potential damages.
The 2017 investigation covered Renault diesel vehicles manufactured from the years 2009-2011 and 2013-2017.
In the UK, around 700,000 diesel vehicles from Renault were allegedly equipped with defeat devices. Law firms have been working with affected drivers and preparing group litigation against the French carmaker.
The scandal that started it all
Authorities in the United States discovered defeat devices in Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the American market in September 2015. As a result, the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency sent a Notice of Violation to the Volkswagen Group.
VW has allegedly been installing their vehicles with the illegal device since 2007 during regulatory tests conducted in the US and Europe. However, it was only in 2014 that West Virginia University researchers came out with their study showing Volkswagen diesel vehicles releasing NOx or nitrogen oxides at 40 times more than the US limit. This prompted an investigation launched by the EPA while the US Department of Justice filed a case against the carmaker for violating the Clean Air Act. The case was worth billions of dollars.
This became known as the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.
As a result, VW had to recall millions of affected vehicles, not just in the US but worldwide. They revealed that approximately 11 million VW, Audi, Skoda, and Porsche models are affected by the cheating device.
What does the cheating device do?
The cheat or defeat device can sense when a vehicle is about to undergo emissions testing and it automatically adjusts emissions performance to within the legal standards. However, outside of testing conditions, and when the vehicle is out on the road for normal driving, it emits excessive, unlawful levels of NOx.
VW and Renault were not the only carmakers found to have used defeat devices; Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nissan, and Vauxhall are only some of the other brands that are on the diesel emissions scandal list. Authorities continue to add carmakers to the list even if it has been almost eight years since Dieselgate first broke.
While VW and Mercedes (through its parent company Daimler) have settled with US authorities via class-action lawsuits, most of the carmakers, including Renault, have yet to do so. Legal firms in the UK have been working on Renault emissions claims, though, as well as cases involving other carmakers. Renault has also announced that they are slowly making the shift to electrification. They also recently shut down operations on their sports division; their performance projects will now be under their sub-brand, Alpine.
Filing a diesel claim is the best way to hold carmakers responsible for their illegal actions. Affected drivers deserve to be compensated for losses that resulted from the defeat devices installed in their vehicles.
Defeat device-equipped vehicles also cause various health impacts.
What are these health impacts?
Aside from producing vegetation-damaging ground-level ozone, smog, and acid rain, NOx emissions also have adverse effects on human health. Exposure to nitrogen oxides can lead to several health conditions, some of them life-threatening.
Your mental health can be affected, triggering frequent episodes of anxiety and depression.
Your cognitive abilities may feel the effects as well. Weakened cognitive health can lead to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Exposure to NOx emissions can also cause the following health conditions:
- Pulmonary oedema
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
These impacts are the reason why you should not hesitate to bring your carmaker to court. File a diesel claim with the help of an emissions expert.
How should I start my diesel claim?
The first thing you need to do to start your diesel claim is to determine if you are qualified to file a case and receive compensation. Once you have verified, ask an emissions expert to help you understand your options - to file an individual emission claim or join a group case against your carmaker.
You can see if you are eligible to claim here - https://www.emissions.co.uk/lp-1